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SolarCity to install solar on military homes, doubling residential solar

Solarcity SolarCity, one of the country’s largest residential solar panel installers, plans to double the amount of rooftop solar systems across the country by setting them up on 160,000 private military homes and other buildings.

The $1-billion SolarStrong program announced Wednesday would span facilities at 124 military bases across 33 states. SolarCity has already lined up a conditional commitment for a $344-million loan guarantee from the federal government to execute the plan.

The multi-year effort would eventually leave 371 megawatts of photovoltaic systems atop family homes, community centers, administrative offices, maintenance buildings and storage warehouses, SolarCity said.

The first SolarStrong project is in full swing at Hickam Communities at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, set to provide electricity to 2,000 military homes, the company said.

SolarCity said it hopes to hire and train veterans and military family members to install and maintain the systems, boosting domestic jobs.

The San Mateo, Calif., company has had several ambitious moves this year, including getting involved in electric vehicle charging technology and expanding to the East Coast.

In June, Google Inc., in its largest green investment yet, created a $280-million fund to help SolarCity pay for installations and maintenance costs in exchange for a cut of customer payments.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: SolarCity workers install solar panels on rooftops at Hickam Communities at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, where developer Lend Lease and SolarCity have partnered on the first SolarStrong-eligible project. Credit: Business Wire

 
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